Essay on Interest / Pressure Groups

Interests so understood usually have an economic- political character. On the basis of this view, we can say that pressure groups are interest groups because they are organised on the basis of common interests of the members and because they are always at work to secure or promote-their interests. They are called Pressure Groups because they accept and use pressure techniques for securing their interests.

Some Popular Definitions of Interest/Pressure Groups:

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(1) “Pressure Groups are private associations formed to influence public policy.” -V.O. Key

(2) “By interest group we mean a group of individuals, who are linked by particular bonds of concern or advantage, and who have some awareness of these bonds. The structure of interest group may be organised to include continuing role performance by all members of the group or it may reflect only occasional and intermittent awareness of the group interest on the part of individuals.” -Almond and Powell

(3) “Pressure Group is an organised aggregate which seeks to influence the context of governmental decision without attempting to place its members in format governmental capacities.” -H. Zeigler

(4) “The term Pressure Group is employed “to describe any collection of persons with common objectives who seek their realisation through political action to influence public policy. Still more simply, an interest group is any group that wants something from government.” -Hitchner and Harbold

(5) Pressure Group is any organised social group that seeks to influence the behaviour of political officers without seeking formal control of the government.” -Alfred de Grazia

(6) “By interest or pressure group we can mean any voluntary organised group, outside the government structure, which attempts to influence the nomination or appointment of government personnel, the adoption of public policy, its administration and adjudication.” -Myron Weiner

(7) “Pressure Group is a formal organisation of people who share one or more common aims or concerns and who are trying to influence the course of events, in particular the formation and administration ofpublic policy by government so as to protect and promote their interests.” -Peter Odegard

(8) “A pressure group declares itself to be a non-partisan organisation of persons united for the achievement of certain end, for the protection or promotion of material activities and of ideal causes deemed vital to the group’s existence or survival” -A. Leiserson

(9) “Pressure Group is an organised attempt to influence governmental policy decisions without officially entering into election contests.” -Ireish and Prothro

(10) “An interest group is any collection of individuals with a shared attitude on some matter who make certain claims or demands on others in society with respect to that matter.” -Richard A. Watson

(11) “An interest group is an association of people having a mutual concern. They become in turn a pressure group as they seek government aid in accomplishing what is advantageous to them.” -C.H. Dillon

On the basis of these definitions, we can say that interest/pressure groups are organized groups of people of a society which try to secure their interests through mutual cooperation and efforts as well as by influencing the formulation and administration of public policy.

These are non-partisan organisations which attempt to influence some phases of public life. They do not directly participate in elections and politics in general but always try to influence both in such a way as can maximise gains in respect of interests that they represent.

An interest/pressure group is a medium, an organisation or association through which people with common interests endeavor to affect the course of public affairs. These groups try to influence political parties, particularly the majority party, and the government organs- Legislature, Executive (Bureaucracy), Judiciary, for securing their interests. These are non­partisan groups but they try to affect the course of politics in such a way as is concerned beneficial for securing their interests.

The industrial, commercial, business, professional or other associations or trade unions which try to influence the public policies and decisions of the government are the pressure groups or interest groups.

Francis G. Castle has observed that “A pressure group is “any group attempting to bring out political change, whether through government activity or not, and which is not a political party in the sense of being represented, at that particular time, in the legislative body.”